Working behind a desk all day, you encounter a number of pains, such as…
And while you may not be able to change your work situation, setting up an ergonomic workspace can help with those other pains. Ergonomics, put simply, is the science of how people interact with their environment. By thoughtfully arranging our environment, we can help to reduce injury and improve workplace efficiency.
Good posture is defined as the position in which your body is under the least amount of stress. It can facilitate breathing, and prevent a number of unpleasant and possibly painful ailments from occurring. Your parents weren’t joking around when they kept telling you to “sit up straight!”
Another busy workday at the office is drawing to a close. You’ve spent the past 3 hours hunched over in front of your desk, leaning in and squinting intently at figures on your computer screen. As you get up from your chair, a sharp pain radiates from the base of your skull, down through your neck, and on into your arms. Your left hand feels a bit numb and as you stand up you notice a dull ache and tightness in your neck muscles. Now that you’ve disengaged your gaze from the computer screen, you realize that a headache has come on; something that you’ve dealt with more frequently nowadays.
During a typical work day, for example, if your job is in an office setting and you spend countless hours seated while squinting at a computer screen, most of us unknowingly experience poor posture. What exactly does that look like? Well, incorrect posture manifests when we slouch, with our chin pointed down, shoulders and upper back rounded forward, and our spines scrunched. As a result, there are many undesirable physical, social and even emotional outcomes that can result from using poor posture.
If someone studying back pain were to covertly take some snapshots of most of us during an average day, they would reveal some alarming information about how we abuse our backs. Those incriminating photos would show us slouched over our work stations, scrunched up in our vehicles, or hunched over peering at our smart device screens. In other words, we are quietly and figuratively “killing” our spines slowly with poor posture, and in the sordid process both facilitating the onset, while intensifying the severity, of our resulting back pain flare-ups.
There’s an old saying that the only things that we are guaranteed in life are “death and taxes”. Well, in today’s world we can almost add “back pain” to that list, as over 80% of us will suffer from the discomfort and inconvenience of that affliction at some point during our lives. In fact, back pain annually strikes over 30 million people in the United States, and often without warning. Medically, there are two classifications of back pain. The temporary variety is classified as acute, while persistent back pain problems are said to be chronic; the latter category being the focus of this article.
Our jobs today come in many forms and physical labor requirements. Most of the occupations in which we are employed are not back health-friendly, from continuously slouching in our desk chairs while typing on a computer keyboard, to repetitively lifting heavy objects while laboring at a construction site. At least somewhat-related to our various jobs, back pain strikes over 30 million Americans each year. At some point, back pain begins to interfere with our home and social lives, and often leads to poor sleep patterns.
You’ve been sitting at your office workstation all morning, intently finishing up an important client’s project. Getting up to take a well-deserved break, you nearly shout out in pain, as you are greeted by a sharp “twinge,” or the dull throbbing ache, of lower back pain. But take comfort in the fact you are not alone, as most of us will eventually suffer from the common curse of lower back pain.
After a few hours of sitting at your desk or driving home from work, you may start to notice yourself slouching in your seat. Maybe you need to pick up something off the floor and your initial reaction will be to bend down at your waist thinking it is no big deal. Then you are standing in line at the grocery store with the shopping basket dropping your arm down after you picked up more supplies than you had originally anticipated. Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? All of these everyday scenarios have a negative impact on your muscles and joints. After a while, you may start to feel soreness in your lower back. If you find you can relate, it is likely that you have bad posture.